(We present Comrade Aleks‘ interview of two members of the superb death-doom unit Rotting Kingdom from Lexington, Kentucky, whose debut album was released one year ago by Godz Ov War Productions.)
A year ago Godz ov War Productions released a debut full-length album A Deep Shade Of Sorrow by the Kentucky-based band Rotting Kingdom. The album got quite a lot of positive feedback, and it seems to have been the obvious reaction to clear and artistic old school doom-death (with a noticeable emphasis on the second). First-class growling, a truly grim sound with lots of weight and melody, and tangible macabre passion mark this material, making the album a remarkable journey into the absolute ruin of Rotting Kingdom.
Brandon Glancy (drums) and Chuck McIntyre (bass) guide us to the Kingdom’s heart.
Hail Rotting Kingdom! How are you? How do you spend the covid second wave in Lexington?
Hails, thank you. Covid’s second wave has definitely gotten in the way – we had been writing new material and were set to record with Jason Groves at Sneak Attack Studio. But unfortunately, we haven’t been able to do that as soon as we hoped, due to rising local covid cases and our jobs. Despite the impositions from Covid, we have been writing and are excited about the new material we have in store for everyone.
Five of you played in different, mostly extreme metal, bands. What drove you to unite your efforts under the Rotting Kingdom banner?
We’ve known each other from past bands playing shows together. We all just wanted to play something in this vein, ultimately just trying out something different creatively. We work outstandingly well together, so from the very early days of Rotting Kingdom, everything clicked and felt natural. Our different backgrounds and musical experiences contribute to the unique elements and diversity in our sound.
How would you sum up the general elements that you wanted to embody in your self-titled EP back in 2017? Was this death-laden doom the same thing you imagined?
We set out with Death/Doom as the foundation of our sounds, but we also wanted to make something that ultimately sounded like “us” with references to the legends of the genres and represented where we were in our lives in 2017. Things have changed a decent amount in our sound since the EP, but we believe we still have the same sound and mentality at its core since the EP. Our goal is to keep pushing our sound further with each release.
Doom-death laws are carved in stone — what do you want to take from the genre and how do you see the prospects of searching for your own individuality now over 30 years since it was invented?
We certainly have heavy influences from the pioneers of the genre, specifically the early Peaceville catalogue, but don’t necessarily feel restrained by or compelled to conform to any boundaries, as each member of RK also brings a unique touch and influence spanning many genres outside of death-doom. Every song we write is a natural evolution of our sound and we hope to continue to push ourselves with each release.
The Rotting Kingdom EP was released on tapes, CDs, and vinyls — a good result. Did you care back then about promotion? Were you ready to spend time promoting the band in a DIY way?
Some of us grew up in the DIY punk scene here in Lexington, so that’s always been our approach. Mainly, we’ve always used the same networks of friends through previous projects. And of course all of Anton and Chuck’s hard work with the “Blood of the Wolf” festival’s and that network of bands and individuals.
Rotting Kingdom – Barren Harvest
Forgive me my ignorance but I never heard before about the Blood Of The Wolf festival. Can you tell more about it?
They’ve been doing it for 6 years, as of 2012/2013. It’s a massive three-day fest of everything from punk to black metal, death metal, hardcore, and noise. Lots of local acts play, and even larger-scale bands like Profanatica and Sadistic Intent have played.
A Deeper Shade of Sorrow full-length was recorded in spring 2019. You took your time, and this material is more saturated and it’s quite diverse. What were your intentions considering this work? Did you have some sort of healthy ambitions writing these songs?
We went into the creation of this record with the ambition to simply expand on the sound we established on our EP. We took ample time in the studio to really craft and hone the sounds we wanted for this record, as well as had the opportunity to do some experimentation with various gear and techniques that were not heard in our previous effort. We plan on continuing to expand and refine this sound to further define our unique sound while still paying respects to our priors.
It seems you cared a lot about A Deeper Shade of Sorrow’s material. How long did you fight at the studio for such a powerful energized sound? How much time did you spend at Sneak Attack Studio?
We care immensely for this material. We spent a lot of time writing It and all of it had been rehearsed pretty thoroughly, so it came together easily once in the studio. This time we took 4 days in Sneak Attack with Jason Groves. He’s a master at what he does, so it really allowed us to work quickly and utilize the time to experiment more with the atmosphere and sounds.
Four days? Were you so sure of your own skills and the material’s quality? Did you add some new elements to songs you already had when you’ve entered the studio?
We spent a large amount of time writing and rehearsing the tracks, so we were quite prepared when we into the studio. Drums were done in one day, and the rest of the time was spent on vocals, guitars, bass, and different layers. We definitely added onto our current tracks. Many guitar and vocal layers became apparent when we got to hear some playback. The interlude track “Decrepit Elegance” was written and performed by Kyle on the spot.
Do you care about the songs’ lyrics in the same way as you care for the sound? How would you sum up A Deeper Shade of Sorrow’s lyrical messages?
Our lyrical content has generally focused on themes of loss, despair, sorrow, heartache, death, the passage of time, and visions of the end. We create simple yet poignant wording that can be carried by our music and assist in conjuring and imbuing the listener with the desired emotive response. We want our fans to be transported and taken away somewhere. A Deeper Shade of Sorrow continues in this same way lyrically, and ultimately our lyrics serve as a template in which the listener can place their own experience and find meaning through our use of metaphor and tragic poetry. Life is not easy and that struggle is exemplified through our lyrics.
Three of you play in the thrash /death outfit Tombstalker. I haven’t seen any news from this side for a few years. How soon may we expect new tunes of Warhammer 40k influenced blasphemy?
Tombstalker has been on hiatus for a few years now as we have struggled to find a solid lineup as well as manage the multitude of side projects, work, school, family, and everything else life throws at us. That being said, we are closing in on what we hope will be a worthy lineup for the rebirth of the band. Currently we are in the process of writing a brand new full-length worth of material and are steadily making progress. We hope to show some signs of life this year and show the world once again the true meaning of black hammer crushing death crust from beyond. Forever fully armed and filthy.
A lot of bands nowadays are deprived of any chances to play gigs or rehearsals, but instead of this some of them are focused on writing new stuff. What about you?
We have a split EP currently written and soon to be recorded, possibly another split on the horizon, and are currently writing the next full-length. And of course we all have our other bands working on and releasing new material as well.